<p>Janet Montgomery, center, with her &quot;Made in Jersey&quot; siblings</p>

Janet Montgomery, center, with her "Made in Jersey" siblings

Credit: CBS

'Made in Jersey' star Janet Montgomery learns to talk like a Jersey girl

The English actress has to play a lawyer who grew up in the Garden State
Martina Garretti, the heroine of CBS' upcoming new drama "Made in Jersey" (it debuts on Sept. 28) is a Garden State girl through and through. She comes from a big family in Clifton, and though she commutes across the Hudson every day to work as a junior associate at a fancy Manhattan law firm, she doesn't try to hide her accent, her days as a prosecutor in Trenton, or any of her other Jersey roots.
 
The actress playing Martina, on the other hand? She has quite a bit to hide, as CBS went way outside the state — outside the country, in fact — to cast English actress Janet Montgomery to play the role. Montgomery has played Americans before, most recently as a San Francisco jewel thief on FOX's "Human Target," but never as the lead of a show, and never in an accent made so famous by Carmela Soprano and the women of "Real Housewives of New Jersey."
 
I sat down with Montgomery at the television critics press tour last month to ask about what she's learned about the region, whom her accent is based on, and more.
 
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<p>Andrew Rannells, Ellen Barkin and NeNe Leakes in &quot;The New Normal.&quot;</p>

Andrew Rannells, Ellen Barkin and NeNe Leakes in "The New Normal."

Credit: NBC

Series premiere review: 'The New Normal' - 'Pilot'

What did everybody think of the new NBC sitcom?

I reviewed NBC's "The New Normalover the weekend. Now it's your turn. For those of you who watched the premiere tonight, what did you think? Was it funny? Offensive? Both? Neither? Did you like the Andrew Rannells character, or did you feel the two baby-as-accessory jokes sold him out? Do you want to watch Ellen Barkin spew racist and/or homophobic slurs 22 times a season for seasons on end? Did the celebrity cameo delight you or just remind you of various "Glee" moments? 

Most importantly, are you going to watch again? Unlike most premieres this fall, that choice comes upon you almost immediately, as the next episode will be airing tomorrow night at 9:30.

Have at it.

<p>Mandy Patinkin in the &quot;Homeland&quot;&nbsp;season 2 premiere.</p>

Mandy Patinkin in the "Homeland" season 2 premiere.

Credit: Showtime

Watch the first 20 minutes of 'Homeland' season 2 now

Showtime previews the first episode in advance of September 30 premiere

"Homeland" doesn't return to television until Sunday, September 30 at 10 p.m., but Showtime made the first 20 minutes of the season 2 premiere available online and On Demand, both to whet the appetites of subscribers and to convince other people to sign up before the month is over.

The preview is supposed to be available on Demand on over 40 cable and satellite providers, including Comcast, Cox, DirectTV, Dish, Time Warner Cable and Verizon, and it's also online right now, as you can see below. Enjoy, and we'll be back to discuss the full thing on the 30th.

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<p>Jax (Charlie Hunnam)&nbsp;sits at the gavel on the new season of &quot;Sons of Anarchy.&quot;</p>

Jax (Charlie Hunnam) sits at the gavel on the new season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Credit: FX

Review: 'Sons of Anarchy' returns for season 5 with same strengths and weaknesses

HitFix
B
Readers
B+
Lots of great characters matched with lots of goofy plots for the motorcycle club drama
Creating television is not an exact science. For every show that debuts as a fully-formed entity ("The Shield," "The Sopranos," "Arrested Development"), there are plenty that struggle early on but improve dramatically over time, usually when they return for their second seasons, having had a few months to examine what worked and what didn't in the debut year. For some shows ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Breaking Bad," "Parks and Recreation"), that creative leap taken in year 2 is one that sticks, while for others (say, "Chuck") it represents an early peak, where all the elements consistently click in a way that didn't often happen before or after.
 
I had hoped "Sons of Anarchy" was one that made it to the next level and stayed there, but as the motorcycle club drama enters its fifth season tomorrow night at 10 p.m. on FX, it's clear that incredible second year was the exception and not the rule.
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<p>Karen Gillan, Matt Smith and Arthur Darvill in &quot;Doctor Who.&quot;</p>

Karen Gillan, Matt Smith and Arthur Darvill in "Doctor Who."

Credit: BBC

Review: 'Doctor Who' - 'Dinosaurs on a Spaceship'

Rory's father tags along on a delightful space adventure

A review of tonight's "Doctor Who" coming up just as soon as I have balls in my trousers...

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<p>Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha want a baby in &quot;The New Normal.&quot;</p>

Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha want a baby in "The New Normal."

Credit: NBC

Review: NBC's 'The New Normal' is another schizophrenic Ryan Murphy series

HitFix
C-
Readers
C-
Lots of attention-getting jokes, but not a whole lot of funny ones
Every showrunner in the TV business can make a good pitch for his or her show. That's part of the development process where an idea becomes a script, and then a pilot, and then a series. If you can't sell your show verbally, chances are it won't exist, and I've sat through press conferences and interviews listening to producers enthusiastically, unapologetically sing the praises of absolute trash.
 
I'm not sure there's a wider gap between pitch and reality than the one I continually find with Ryan Murphy, co-creator of "Glee," "American Horror Story," and now "The New Normal," an NBC sitcom debuting Monday night at 10 before moving to a regular Tuesday at 9:30 timeslot the next night.
 
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<p>Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton in &quot;Strike Back.&quot;</p>

Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton in "Strike Back."

Credit: Cinemax

HitFix First Look: The 'Strike Back' guys go on the run

Scott and Stonebridge are under attack on all sides in the start of a new two-parter

As I said a couple of weeks ago, "Strike Backis one of those shows I deeply enjoy but don't usually have a ton to say about. But I thought the just-concluded two-parter with Stonebridge and Scott defending their shabby little fort against overwhelming odds was pretty splendid. And tonight's episode begins a new two-parter that puts the machinations of Tywin Lannister (or whatever name Charles Dance is going by in this series) more into focus while also advancing the character arcs for the revenge-fueled Stonebridge and for Scott.

I've got an exclusive clip of tonight's episode, with the guys trying to escape an ambush, but I also thought I'd use this post as an opportunity for the handful of "Strike Back" fans we have around here to discuss the season so far. Have at it.

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 147: 'Breaking Bad' finale, 'The New Normal,' 'Sons of Anarchy' & more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 147: 'Breaking Bad' finale, 'The New Normal,' 'Sons of Anarchy' & more

Dan and Alan also review the new season of 'Parenthood'

The

It's a late-week Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, thanks to Dan's international travels (which we discuss briefly at the start), in which we start looking ahead to next week's premieres of "The New Normal," "Parenthood" and "Sons of Anarchy" while also looking back to the "Breaking Bad" finale and to pilots that recast performers — not always for the better. As we warn you near the end, the next podcast may also not be on Monday, but we'll get to "Boardwalk Empire" and friends eventually.

(Also, for those wondering, here's this week's theme song, which is damn catchy.) 

The line-up: 

"The New Normal" (00:03:40 - 00:22:10)
"Parenthood" (00:22:15 - 00:34:30)
"Sons of Anarchy" (00:34:30 - 45:50)
Listener Mail on pilot changes (00:45:55 - 00:56:25)
"Breaking Bad" (00:57:15 - 01:22:45)
 
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
 
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
<p>Anna Gunn and Bryan Cranston in a scene from the &quot;Breaking Bad&quot;&nbsp;mid-season finale.</p>

Anna Gunn and Bryan Cranston in a scene from the "Breaking Bad" mid-season finale.

Credit: AMC

'Breaking Bad' creator Vince Gilligan on poetry books, time jumps and the end for Walter White

How much do Gilligan and his writers know about the series finale? And was Mike too sloppy?

There have been times when Vince Gilligan has known from the start of a "Breaking Bad" season exactly how it was going to end (the plane crash of season 2), and other times where he and his fellow writers have had to improvise (they realized midway through season 3 that the Cousins were too dangerous to plausibly hang around forever, and as a result killed them off and made Gus into the new big bad).

As Gilligan and his writing staff have begun work  on the final 8 episodes of the AMC drama, they're taking an approach that's a little from Column A and a little from Column B, where they have an idea of what's going to be happen but are open to changing that idea if something better comes along.

I spoke with Gilligan about planning the ending of the series, and also about several of the key developments of the first half of this final season, up through the final images of Sunday's mid-season finale.

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<p>Mindy Kaling in &quot;The Mindy Project.&quot;</p>

Mindy Kaling in "The Mindy Project."

Credit: FOX

Mindy Kaling on 'The Mindy Project,' 'The Office' and more

Kaling created and stars in the new FOX sitcom
Mindy Kaling is not exactly Kelly Kapoor, the character she's played for the last eight seasons of "The Office" (where she also served as a writer over that time). She's much smarter and more articulate and, at first glance, less vindictive. Nor is Kaling exactly Mindy Lahiri, the OB/GYN character she plays on the upcoming FOX sitcom "The Mindy Project," which she created and stars in. (It debuts on September 25, but the pilot is already streaming on Hulu.) But Kaling shares with her two alter egos an obsession with pop culture in general and romantic comedy in particular — she spends much of "The Mindy Project" pilot getting into trouble for assuming that life works exactly like a Meg Ryan movie — and an enthusiastic, fast-talking style.
 
I spoke with Kaling at the TV critics press tour about the new show, the old show, how "The Mindy Project" evolved from a "Bridget Jones"-style love triangle in the pilot to something else, being an Indian-American woman fronting (and producing) her own sitcom, and more.
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